On leap-year day I had blogged about Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony frothing at the mouth over EMI, mentioning that IMPALA, an European trade body, was putting up some resistance to the acquisitions. Not so their American counterparts; to the contrary, in fact. The American Federation of Musicians and SAG-AFTRA are actually gung-ho about the buyout. These organizations’ pooh bahs have expressed much concern and solicitude about EMI’s future, and based on nothing but this oh-so selfless concern and solicitude they are endorsing the buyout.
Hmm, so let me get this straight: co-opted American groups that function akin to PACs care more than European trade bodies for the well-being of European music’s jewel in the crown?
SAG-AFTRA self-righteously wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): “It has been wrenching to watch EMI wither over the past decade.” ‘Wrenching,’ eh? So why didn’t we hear about it back then? What did SAG-AFTRA ever say – let alone do – about it? Were they just ‘wrenching’ in silence? What’s ‘wrenching’ is to watch a mongrel like UMG chasing a purebred like EMI.
SAG-AFTRA also argued that “for EMI to be acquired and sold off in pieces by capital investment speculators with no appreciation for, or commitment to, artists who fuel the recording industry, would ill serve the industry.” Ah, so is the only alternative to an UMG buyout a “[sell] off in pieces by capital investment speculators”? Sounds like sophistry to me. If EMI is indeed in a bit of trouble, then simply try to get for it what’s always on tap for irresponsible auto-makers and avaricious banks: a cash injection; a bailout.
Not that any such thing is needed. Make no mistake: this is not about music, it’s about profiteering. In the interest of music, EMI should remain proud and independent.